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University of California Berkeley 

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Poems of 
Cabin and Field 


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Copyright v i896-i899 

Dodd t Mead 


Copyright, 1895-1896 

By The Century Company 

mber0ttg $regs 


Bishop Henry C. Potter 

and with him the friends 
who were kind in my illness 

; - 




The Deserted Plantation Page 9 

Hunting Song 31 

Little Brown Baby . 43 

Chris'mus is a-Comin' 55 

Signs of the Times 67 

Time to Tinker 'Round . 81 

Lullaby '. ' . . . . 93 

A Banjo Song 107 

The Deserted Plantation 

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Oh, de grubbin'-hoe 's a-rustin' in de co'nah, 
An' de plow 's a-tumblin' down in de fiel', 

While de whippoVill 'sa-wailin' lak a mou'nah 
When his stubborn hea't is tryin' ha'd to yieF. 

In de furrers whah de co'n was allus waving 

Now de weeds is growin' green an' rank an' tall ; 
An' de swallers round' de whole place is a-bravin' 


Lak dey thought deir folks had allus owned it all 


An' de big house stands all quiet lak an' solemn, 
Not a blessed soul in pa'lor, po'ch, er lawn ; 

Not a guest, ner not a ca'iage lef to haul 'em, 
Fu' de ones dat turned de latch-string out air gone* 


Itff I S* 

An' de banjo's voice is silent in de quarters, 

* ~* $flL\^i 

D' ain't a hymn ner co'n-song ringin' in de air ; 

kW * '( / '\ W 

But de murmur of a branch's passin' waters 
Is de only soun' dat breks de stillness dere* 


Whah 's de da'kies, dem dat used to be a-dancin' 

Ev'ry night befo' de ol' cabin do 9 ? 
Whah 's de chillun, dem dat used to be a-prancin* 

Er a-rollin' in de san' er on de flo' ? 


Whah 's ol f Uncle Mordecai an' Uncle Aaron ? 

Whah's Aunt Doshy, Sam, an' Kit, an' all de 

Whah 's ol' Tom de da'ky fiddlah, how 's he farin' ? 


Whah 's de gals dat used to sing an' dance de 

Gone ! not one o' dem is leP to tell de story ; 

Dey have leP de deah oP place to fall away 
Could n 't one o' dem dat seed it in its glory 

Stay to watch it in de hour of decay ? 


Dey have lef de ol' plantation to de swallers, 
But it hoPs in me a lover till de las' ; 

Fu' I fin' hyeah in de memory dat follers 
All dat loved me an' dat I loved in de pas'. 


So I '11 stay an' watch de deah ol' place an' tend it 

Ez I used to in de happy days gone by. 
Twell de othah Mastah thinks it 's time to end it, 

Hunting Song 

Tek a cool night, good an' cleah, 

Skiff o' snow upon de groun' ; 
Jes' 'bout fall-time o' de yeah 

Wen de leaves is dry an' brown ; 
Tek a dog an' tek a axe, 

Tek a lantu'n in yo' han', 
Step light whah de switches cracks, 

Fu' dey 's huntin' in de Ian'. 
Down th'oo de valleys an' ovah de hills, 

Into de woods whah de 'simmon-tree grows, 
Wakin' an' skeerin' de po' whippo' wills, 
Huntin' fu' coon an' fu' 'possum we goes. 





Blow dat ho'n dah loud an' strong, 
Call de dogs an' da'kies neah; 
Mek its music cleah an' long, 

So de folks at home kin hyeah. 
Blow it twell de hills an' trees 

Sen's de echoes tumblin' back ; 
Blow it twell de back'ard breeze 

Tells de folks we 's on de track* 
Coons is a-ramblin' an' 'possums is out ; 

Look at dat dog ; you could set on his tail ! 
Watch him now steady, min' what you 's 

Bless me, dat animal 's got on de trail! 

Listen to him ba'kin' now ! 

Dat means business, sho 's you bo'n; 
Ef he 's struck de scent I 'low 

Dat ere 'possum 's sholy gone* 
Knowed dat dog fu' fo'teen yeahs, 

An' I nevah seed him tail 
Wen he sot dem flappin' eahs 
An' went off upon a trail 
Run, Mistah 'Possum, an' run, Mistah Coon, 

No place is safe fu' yo' ramblin' to-night; 
Mas' gin de lantu'n an' God gin de moon, 
An' a long hunt gins a good appetite* 

Look hyeah, folks, you hyeah dat change ? 

Dat ba'k is sharper dan de res'. 
Dat ere soun' ain't nothin' strange, 

Dat dog 's talked his level bes'* 
Somep'n' 's treed, I know de soun'. 

Dah now, wha 'd I tell you ? see ! 
Dat ere dog done run him down ; 

Come hyeah, he'p cut down dis tree* 
Ah, Mistah Tossum, we got you at las' 

Need n't play daid, laying dah on de groun' ; 
Pros' an' de 'simmons has made you grow fas', 
Won't he be fine when he 's roasted up brown ! 

Little Brown Baby 

Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes, 

Come to yo' pappy an' set on his knee* 
What you been doin', suh makin' san' pies ? 

Look at dat bib you 's ez du'ty ez me. 
Look at dat mouf dat 's merlasses, I bet ; 

Come hyeah, Maria, an' wipe off his han's. 
Bees gwine to ketch you an' eat you up yit, 

Bein' so sticky an' sweet goodness lan's ! 


Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes, 

Who 's pappy's darlin' an' who 's pappy's chile ? 
Who is it all de day nevah once tries 

Ft/ to be cross, er once loses dat smile ? 
Whah did you git dem teef ? My, you 's a scamp ! 

Whah did dat dimple come Pom in yo' chin? 
Pappy do' know yo I b'lieves you 's a tramp ; 

Mammy, dis hyeah 's some ol' straggler got in ! 



Let 's th'ow him outen de do 9 in de san', 

We do' want stragglers a-layin' 'roun' hyeah 
Let 's gin him Vay to de big buggah-man ; 

I know he 's hidin' erroun' hyeah right neah. 
Buggah-man t buggah-man t come in de do', 

Hyeah's a bad boy you kin have fu' to eat. 
Mammy an' pappy do' want him no mo' t 

Swaller him down f 'om his haid to his feet ! 


(\.:*m tin 

Dah, now, I thought dat you'd hug me up close. 

Go back, ol' buggah, you shan't have dis boy. 
He ain't no tramp, ner no straggler, of co'se ; 

He 's pappy's pa'dner an' playmate an' joy. 
Come to you' pallet now go to yo' res' ; 

Wisht you could allus know ease an' cleah skies; 
Wisht you could stay jes' a chile on my breas' 

Little brown baby wif spa'klin' eyes ! 

*S , " 


Chris'mus is a-Comin' 

Bones a-gittin' achy, 
Back a-feelin' col', 
Han's a-growin' shaky, 
Jes' lak I was ol'. 
Pros' erpon de meddah 
Lookin' mighty white ; 
Snowdraps lak a feddah 
Slippin' down at night* 
Jes' keep things a-hummin' 
Spite o' fros^ an' showahs, 
Chris'mus is a-comin' 
An' all de week is ouahs. 


Little mas' a-axin', 
"Who is Santy Glaus? 
Meks it kin' o' taxin' 
Not to brek de laws. 
Chillun's pow'ful tryin' 
To a pusson's grace 
Wen dey go a-pryin' 
Right on th'oo you' face 
Down ermong yo' feelin's ; 
Jes' 'pears lafc dat you 
Got to change you' dealin's, 
So 's to tell 'em true. 

An 9 my pickaninny 
Dreamin' in his sleep ! 
Come hyeah, Mammy Jinny , 
Come an' tek a peep. 
Or Mas' Bob an' Missis 
In dey house up daih 
Got no chile lak dis is, 
D' ain't none anywhaih. 
Sleep, my little lammy, 
Sleep, you little limb, 
He do' know whut mammy 
Done saved up fu' him* 

Dey '11 be banjo picking 
Dancin' all night th'oo. 
Dey 11 be lots o' chicken, 
Plenty tu'ky, too* 
Drams to wet yo' whistles 
So 's to drive out chills* 
Whut I keer fu' drizzles 
Fallin' on de hills? 
Jes^ keep t'ings a-hummin' 
Spite o^ col' an' showahs t 
Chris'mus day 's a-comin', 
An' all de week is ouahs* 

Signs of the Times 

Air a-gittin' cool an* coolah, 
Frost a-comin' in de night, 

Hicka' nuts an' walnuts fallin', 
'Possum keepin' out o' sight. 

Tu'key struttin' in the ba'nya'd, 
Nary step so proud ez his ; 

Keep on strutting Mistah Tu'key, 
Yo' do' know whut time it is. 


Cidah press commence a-squeakin/ 
Eatin' apples sto'ed away, 

Chillun swa'min' 'roun' lak hornets, 
Huntin' aigs ermung de hay. 

Mistah TVkey keep on gobblin' 
At de geese a-flyin' souf t 

Oomph! dat bird do' know whut's 
comin' ; 

Ef he did he 'd shet his mouf, 



^ xs 

Pum'kin gittin' good an' yallah 

Mek me open up my eyes ; 
Seems lak it 's a-lookin' at me 

Jes' a-la'in' dah sayin' Pies/' B^ 

Tu'key gobbler gwine 'roun' blowin', 

Gwine 'roun' gibbin' sass an' slack; 
Keep on talkin', Mistah Tu'key, 

lilO/AY P 

You ain't seed no almanac 

no almanac. 


Fa'mer walkin' th'oo de ba'nya'd 

Seein' how things is comin' on, 
Sees ef all de fowls is fatt'nin' 

Good times comin* sho 's you bo'n. 
Hyeahs dat turkey gobbler bragging 

Den his face break in a smile 
Nebbah min', you sassy rascal, 

He 's gwine nab you atter while* 


Choppin' suet in de kitchen, 
Stonin' raisins in de hall, 

Beef a-cookin' fu' de mince meat, 
Spices groun' I smell 'em all. 
Look hyeah, TVkey, stop dat gob- 



You ain' luned de sense ob feah, 
You ol' fool, yo' naik 's in dangah, 

' you know Thanksgibbin 's 
hyeah ? 


Time to Tinker 'Roun' 


Summah 's nice, wif sun a-shinin', 

Spring is good wif greens and grass, 
An' dey 's some t'ings nice 'bout win- 

Dough hit brings de f reezin' bias' ; 
But de time dat is de fines', 

Whethah fiel's is green er brown, 
Is w'en de rain 's a-po'in' 

An' dey 's time to tinker 'roun'. 


Den you men's de mule's ol' ha'ness, 
men's de broken chair* 

Oh, dey 's fun inside de co'n-crib, 

An' dey's laffin' at de ba'n; 
An' dey 's allus some one jokin', 

Er some one to tell a ya'n. 
Dah f s a quiet in yo' cabin, 

Only fu' de rain's sof soun'; 
So you 's mighty blessed happy 

Wen dey's time to tinker 'roun'I 


You been bad de livelong day, 

Po' little lamb. 
Th'owin' stones an' runnin' 'way, 

Po' little lamb. 

My, but you 's a-runnin' wil', 
Look jes' lak some po' folks chile ; 
Mam' gwine whup you atter while, 

Po' little lamb. 


Mammy do' fcno\ 
Ef de chillun's all lak 
You f s a caution now 

Y'ought to have a right good 

Po' little lamb. 
You been runnin* roun' \ 

A Banjo Song 


Oh, dere 's lots o' keer an' trouble 

In dis world to swaller down ; 
An' ol' Sorrer 's purty lively 

In her way o' gittin' roun'* 
Yet dere 's time when I f urgit 'em, - 

Aches an' pains an' troubles all, 
An' it 's when I tek at ebenin' 

My ol' banjo f'om de wall* 

An' above de shady hilltops 

I kin see de settin' sun ; 
When de auiet. restful shadders 

Den my fam'ly gadders roun' me 

In de fadin* o' de light, 
Ez I strike de strings to try 'em 

Ef dey all is tuned er-right. 
An' it seems we 're so nigh heaben 

We kin hyeah de angels sing 
When de music o' dat banjo 

Sets my cabin all er-ring. 

An' my wife an' all de othahs, 

Male an' female, small an' bi$ 
Even up to gray-haired granny, 

Twell I change de style o' music 

Change de movement an' d 
An' de ringin' little banjo 

n ol' hea't-feelin' hii 



An' somehow my th'oat gits choky, 

An' a lump keeps tryin' to rise 
Lak it wan'ed to ketch de water 

Dat was flowin' to my eyes ; 
An' I feel dat I could sorter 

Knock de socks clean off o' sin 
Ez I hyeah my po' ol' granny 

Wif huh tremblin' voice jine in. 








Den we all th'ow in our voices 
Fu' to he'p de chune out too, 

Lak a big camp-meetin' choiry 
Tryin' to sing a mou'nah th'oo. 

An' our th'oats let out de music, 

Sweet an' solemn, loud an' free, 
_, r n i e 1 1 

Twell de rattans o my cabin 

Echo wif de melody* 



Oh, de music o' de banjo, 

Quick an' deb'lish, solemn, slow, 
Is de greates' joy an' solace 

Dat a weary slave kin know ! 
So jes' let me hyeah it ringing 

Dough de chune be po' an' rough, 
It 's a pleasure ; an' de pleasures 

O' dis life is few enough* 


x-^S ^ iW 


Now I think heaben t d be mo' homelike